There has been a long standing debate on why the atomic bomb was used to defeatJapan.
The threat of Russian advancement in Europe and in Asia was enough to worry thetop officials in the United States and British governments. Wherever the Russians movedthrough they took for themselves. The imminent invasion of mainland Japan and the alliedcasualties that came with it were also a factor in the decision to drop the bomb, as said indocument A. The dropping of the bomb was not entirely used to stop the Russianadvancement.
If the allied forces had invaded mainland Japan, many lives on both sides wouldhave been lost. Most probably more than were lost in the bombing of Hiroshima andNagasaki put together. The tactics that the allies had used up to this point had costhundreds of thousands of lives on both sides. This was when the Japanese only hadmaybe two or three thousand men on an island; whereas on the mainland millions ofpeople who would fight until their death to protect their country. Can you imagine if theAmericans invaded mainland Japan where they had not only soldiers to fight against butthe citizens of Japan loyal to Hirohito? Massive destruction, immense loss of life, andprolonging of the war until late 1946, as stated in document A, would result from invadingon foot instead of using the bomb.
Revenge also played a role in the decision to bomb Japan. The Japanese were notfollowing the Geneva convention in regards to treatment of prisoners of war. Which saysthat the prisoners are not to be put through torture of the psychological or physical nature. The Japanese did these things anyway, they would decapitate American prisoners, or theywould shove bamboo shoots under their fingernails. The American government alsowanted revenge for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. No warning was given by theJapanese to the Americans and no war was declared until after the incident.
The Russian territorial expansion definitely played a factor in the dropping thebomb on Japan. The Soviet Union had already taken Poland and many other countriesduring the war. The Soviets were helping the Chinese with the war against Japan andlater would get railroads in China and Manchuria when Japan completely surrendered, asstated in document D. As said in document E, the Americans did not want the Russians toget involved in the war against Japan. The most obvious reasons would be to prevent theRussians from expanding any more and to keep them out of Japan where they wouldhamper the peace process and gain even more territory. As president Harry Truman says in his radio address, document H, all of thecountries involved were trying to create the atomic bomb to use for their efforts.
Fortunately the Americans won the “race of discovery”. If the Germans had won that racethey probably would have used it continuously in Russia and Britain until Hitler got whathe wanted which was world domination and the extinguishing of the Jewish and others andthe ascent of his “superior race” of Germans. The dropping of the atomic weapon onJapan was not entirely to halt Soviet expansion although it did play a major role.Category: History .